I rate this book right up with the best books I have read on Time Travel (The Mirror, Replay, Time and Again) with an interesting new twist! In this book there are no such things as paradoxes. In this book even though characters may know what is about to occur, they are powerless to do anything to change things (in those situations they are like in a "dream-state," powerless to act).
Thus, we have a time traveler, Henry, who can go back in time many times to the same place and event without disrupting history. Henry is a new breed of human, who at difficult times of his life, kind of jumps into the past (sometimes to the future). Each time he arrives naked with no knowledge of where he is. He then needs to get clothing and money anyway he can. This makes him learn a kind of life of crime from pick pocketing to breaking into stores to get what he needs.
Henry works as a librarian and when he is 28, he meets Clare. Clare seems to know him well but Henry has no recollection of meeting Clare. It turns out that future versions of Henry have continually jumped into the past and have been meeting Clare since she was 6. Clare kind of knows she is destined to marry Henry. They form an interesting relationship because Clare has to now deal with a very different Henry (because he doesn't know her yet). The Henry that she knew wouldn't tell her anything about his childhood (fearing that she may try to seek out his younger self). This Henry is willing to share all details of his life. The Henry that she knew seemed to know all her likes and dislikes, while this Henry has to learn everything.
Eventually, Henry will reach the age where he starts jumping to Clare's past and then the current day Clare can come full circle with Henry and their memories together.
If it all sounds complicated, it's not! The author does a wonderful job of letting you know where Henry is at all times and the ages of Henry and Clare and sometimes when there is more than one Henry, the ages of both. Also, the book is narrated in first person. Sometimes Henry is the narrator and sometimes it is Clare. This works well because during different events sometimes Henry has the greater knowledge and sometime Clare does. The author also does a real good job capturing female vs. male renderings of thoughts and events.
The book is over 500 pages but you will breeze through it rather fast!
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The novel tells the story of Henry DeTamble (born 1963), a librarian at the Newberry Library in Chicago, and his wife, Clare Abshire (born 1971), an artist from a wealthy family who makes paper sculptures. Henry has a rare genetic disorder, which comes to be known as Chrono-Displacement during his lifetime, that causes him to involuntarily travel through time. When 20-year-old Clare meets 28-year-old Henry at the Newberry Library in 1991, he has never seen her before, although she has known him most of her life. Clare's past is still in Henry's future. Henry begins to experience the events in Clare's childhood at the same time that he experiences life with the adult Clare in the present. In the novel, the future cannot be changed, and many tragic events are foreshadowed in the past.
Henry is unable to control his time traveling: when he leaves, where he goes, or how long his trip will last. His destinations are tied to his subconscious, as Henry most often travels to places he has visited or will eventually visit. Very often, Henry is taken back to the moment his mother died in a car accident that he survived, and is...